And so it begins…REALLY???

KCS - WIN_20140204_194852

By Kenneth Justice

~ “And so it begins….” my friend said

Yesterday I was hanging out at one of my favorite coffee houses (to get ranked among my favorites isn’t very hard; 1) provide good fair trade coffee 2) and provide me with frequent free cups of coffee) and my friends and I were talking about my upcoming trip to Atlanta.

Last month I had a mini-kick off to my Drinking in the Culture Tour by spending a couple weeks in Costa Rica, but the reality of things is that this week in Atlanta is when my Tour really begins because it will bring me face to face with fellow bloggers, readers, and everyone else in between.

Let’s face it, the Western World has changed tremendously over the past decade; the Internet has literally connected people all across the globe in ways we never could have imagined. Over the past few years mediums such as blogging, Facebook, and Twitter have become more than just a ‘passing fad’…..but rather they have become central components to our lives.

—) Sure, not all of us use Facebook (though most of us do)

—) Sure, not all of us use Twitter (though A LOT of us do)

—) Sure, not all of us read blogs (although A LOT of us do)

And while over the last year I have shared with my readers all of the reservations I have with social networks, and also all of the things I appreciate about Social Networks…..today marks the beginning of an experiment I’ve been thinking about for a long time and it started with a question; what is the true extent of the relationships we make via social networking?

Combining my love for coffee and the whole café experience, I’ve committed this year of my life to traveling to 100 coffee houses throughout North America and Europe to meet with readers and fellow bloggers….

In Social Networking one of the popular buzz words you will often hear is, ‘Connectivity’. And perhaps that is why my Drinking in the Culture Tour appealed to me as I was coming up with the idea; because drinking coffee and hanging out at a café is all about connectivity.

The coffee shop experience involves casual conversations among acquaintances, and it can also involve serious conversations among friends. People use coffee shops to study, to hang out…..and to connect. Coffee and coffee-houses have been a staple in the Western World for hundreds of years going all the way back to the height of the British Empire.

So I hope to meet many of you in my travels in the upcoming year. Perhaps you can tell me stories about your lives or simply fill me in on your thoughts about the city that you live in and love. Or maybe we can just sit quietly and drink our coffee and watch the various patrons as they walk in and out……

I love coffee, I love people…..and I love to connect. There is something about us humans; I believe we are ultimately social creatures……we crave connectivity. So from the medium of the Internet, I’m now coming to a coffee house near you…..

Whatever lays ahead I can only imagine. Greg Anderson writes, “Focus on the journey not on the destination. Joy is not found in finishing an activity, but in doing it” and that is something I will have in mind throughout the coming year.

I will be in Atlanta this weekend at two different coffee shops on Saturday; check out my homepage for locations. If you are on Twitter I’ll try and keep my Twitter updated with regular tweets of the experience throughout the day….and I hope as the year progresses to meet as many readers and fellow bloggers as possible.

For now, I think I will have one more coffee this morning before its time to leave to Atlanta,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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83 replies

  1. I am fully on board with this idea. In fact, I’ve done something similar. I started blogging (or at least an early incarnation of it) in 2000 or 2001. I met a lot of friends from the site I was on and hung out in coffee houses with them in their respective cities and my own. I’m a coffee lover and a bit of a snob about it, I refuse to do the chain crap. Anyway, I have a lot of really good, honest, true friends from these experiences that I’ve known now going on 15 years. Not everyone you meet online will turn into that, but it’s not uncommon for them to, at least in my experience. If you end up coming through Las Vegas, I can introduce you to a few coffee houses here you may like. : )

    • I totally get what your saying about the chains… but I gotta say, Starbucks comes in handy when traveling because you always know what to expect; hot coffee at the same price, and free WIFI

  2. Have a great time! Here’s to new friends and an exciting journey.

  3. If you’re ever doing a tour of coffee shops in the UK, please let me know!!!

  4. Best of luck on your travels. This is a WONDERFUL trip, I would love to take my own one day too. 🙂

  5. Have a fantastic trip. I can’t wait for next posts 🙂

  6. You probably won’t make it to Lake Jackson Texas (you wouldn’t miss much), but if you do it would be nice to have a cup with you. Have a great trip! 🙂

    • Well I don’t know how far that is from Austin, but I’m trying to find airline tickets so I can spend the weekend in Austin this year!

    • Its about 4 hours drive. Austin is great.I went to UT Austin for a year. Had a great time. I’m not really into city living tho, moved back to the beach and still prefer it any day over any city. 🙂

  7. What a remarkable idea! I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic experience.

  8. Have a nice trip and enjoy the coffee over there!

  9. “what is the true extent of the relationships we make via social networking?”

    I love that you ask this. I think this generation is missing out on so much and technology has hindered their ability to connect to people in the real world.

    I’m just as guilty as my children…taking technology for granted. I recently told an acquaintance that I have a false sense of knowing him better than I really do simply because I read his blog and Facebook. Talking to people through social media can temporarily satisfy the mind and cause one to believe that there’s been a real, live, ongoing relationship.

    Another example I have involves my recent visit to my cousin’s home. I walked in and sat down and immediately made conversation. Then I started looking around and realized their place looked different… A LOT different. She informed me that they’ve had their current home (same land of course) for 7-8 years. I was lost for words when I realized it had been that long since I’ve stopped by to visit. It surely didn’t feel that long because of communication through social networks.

    A stronger emphasis must be made on the significance of personal interaction. Social media is great, but should only be used sparingly.

    • Great comments….. and I guess this weekend will be a great first step in learning about the connections I’ve made via blogging because I’ve just arrived in Atlanta and look forward to meeting readers and bloggers 🙂

  10. Come to Philly! We have some great coffee shops–and an interesting mix of people, for sure.

  11. Mashed potatoes? You should be craving grits! When in “Rome”. For some reason I had an instant flash that too many people would “show up” to speak to you and it would not be very comfortable at all. When faced with the unknown most us get some anticipation jitters. I think that you are well versed in focusing on the journey or you wouldn’t be wanting to reach out to people so often. People are like grab bags. You just never know what is up with them, until you sit down and have a hot cup of coffee with them.

    • Ha ha, stopped at a restaurant this morning for breakfast and noticed that all the kids down south here were eating grits! I’ve never really ‘loved’ grits…I can eat them if they are served to me but otherwise I tend to pass.

      And I’ve had a similar reservation to you as to what if a ton of people show up? But at least here in Atlanta and then in Chicago I have small readership’s….its a few other cities that I will be coming to soon that might see larger crowds…. but whether it is one person…. or a hundred people, I’m looking forward to meeting as many people as show up :=)

  12. Great post, Kenneth: an excellent beginning to your journey. Thanks for connecting and sharing your adventure with all of us.

  13. I think it’s so cool that you’re doing this…can’t wait to hear all about it! And looking forward to hopefully meeting you in Nashville. 🙂

  14. I wish you safe traveling as you start your tour. I find the idea inspiring it to be fascinating and look forward to finding out what the end result will be. In the past before technology people rarely connected with anyone outside of their city or town, as traveling long distances and the enactment of the “post” became viable options it enabled people to stay better connected to people far away. Now the internet is our newest way to stay connected, but just as travel and the mail changed our world in ways we never could have imagined a thousand years ago, we must now discover just how much of an impact social networking has made on the new generations.

    • “in the past before technology people rarely connected with anyone outside of their city or town”

      Agreed. That is what is so fascinating about this journey I’m on this year; I really don’t know what to expect but I’m excited 🙂

  15. I need the reminding sometimes that that’s what I originally fell in love with. The connections formed at coffee shops and not just the coffee.

  16. Have fun! Stay safe.

  17. Looking forward to the next stop in your coffee tour. Glad to be able to enjoy the journey with you through your writing.
    Cheers on another cap-a-joe.

  18. See you tomorrow. 🙂

  19. Are you coming to North Carolina?

    • Yes, North Carolina and South Carolina are both on the list but I’ve got to finish purchasing my flights to the West Coast first…. then I will have dates and locations 🙂

  20. I predict, as you meet on-line personas, you will both be surprised and confirmed in what you thought of them. Sometimes both at the same time.

    Enjoy.

  21. You have great ideas!
    Enjoy your new connections with delicious coffee. Don’t forget about old friends 😃

  22. Enjoying your posts, as usual. It is something that I never had deemed possible – this connecting as we do on the blogs and Internet. I even correspond occasionally in Portuguese and Spanish and I don’t know either language but translate software makes it possible.
    Safe trip… see you again soon Kenneth.
    ~ Eric

  23. Well now, that’s just too cool! I think I picked the right time to follow your blog! 🙂 I can’t wait to read all about your adventures as you travel! I’d offer to meet with you when you hit my area, but even though I’m part of a huge metroplex, my area is actually pretty far off the beaten trail!

  24. Hi! If you have time, you might like to read my most recent blog post about the effect social networking has on blurring the lines between what we consider representation, and what we now consider reality. Social media has a massive part nowadays in the creations of our own identities, but can also alter our ability to tell what is real life, and what is just representing it.
    Have a great day, x

  25. Enjoy……………………….
    (and feel at home wherever you find yourself).

  26. Have fun! Best of luck with the start of the tour!
    Be sure to include coffee reviews! 😉

  27. Wish I could make it to Atlanta, but I will wait for a city location that is a bit closer to RVA. Also, like the Greg Anderson quotes…. but this one needs a part 2:
    “Joy is not found in finishing an activity, but in doing it”
    because while true, is also true that JOY is A L S O found in completing activities – and once done – some things we do can have lingering, residual joy that stays with us long after the task is done – 🙂

    have a nice day Mr. Monk.

  28. Great post, really interesting. Have an amazing journey, looking forward to hearing about it 🙂

  29. Heck…maybe this can turn into a career? Wishing you many happy trails, and conversations….and great coffee of course. ~ Dave

  30. I’m excited for you and look forward to hearing about your meetings and adventures along the way.

  31. Kenneth – I have kept my editorial comments to myself because I try not to be a “grammar nazi” but seriously…mediums?? There is no “mediums” it’s media or medium – media IS the plural form of medium (unless talking about t-shirts or psychics lol); and as for your use of the semi-colon lol well that’s another conversation. 🙂 Sorry, had to get that out. Now, while I don’t like coffee, I do like the coffee house atmosphere. I agree there’s something friendly and welcoming about them – a perfect atmosphere for connectivity. I hope you have fun on your adventures! 🙂

    • Jen, ha ha. Well ya gotta forgive me today cuz I wrote that at 3 in the morning…I was still a little groggy

    • lol well okay…you get a pass..this time 😉

    • Normally I spend a lot of time checking over my articles for typos, but yesterday and today’s articles had a few I noticed, but I’ve been SO busy getting ready for Atlanta I simply didn’t have the time to do my normal checking……. But at least I arrived safe and sound in Atlanta and just spent an hour listening to a young woman tell me her ‘life story’ lol… first person I talked to here at the coffee shop and she just erupted wanting to talk

    • LOL that my friend is the story of your life. There’s just something about you – something really inviting to people that they feel they can do that. I never get that but it’s all good. Glad you arrived and already getting material 🙂

    • I don’t know that its anything special about me…. the girl had this massive bible, and I merely asked her, “so is that for personal study or are you in bible college or something?” and she started talking and talking and talking 😀

    • LOL just asked the right question huh? Either way it doesn’t take much with you; I’d ask that I’d get one or two sentences and that’s it – end of story. With you – you get their whole life story after a simple question. 🙂

  32. I truly envy you….What a great adventure you have been on and are about to be experiencing again. I only wish we had a coffee house in this little ghost town. I will def be keeping up with you on twitter and via your blog. I will be waiting in my virtual coffee house to hear all the fun!

  33. I like this candid photo.

    Don’t get me wrong– the selective color photos are very arty and eye-catching. But I have a documentary style to my photography, and coming from that angle and practice, I personally think more photos of that style could blend very well with your posts, as you use a lot of storytelling in your writing. I’m not saying get rid of those other photos, or never use them again, but I do think that including more snapshots of your immediate scene could be very captivating.

  34. I’m looking forward to reading about it – I’ve fantasized in the past year about meeting some of my fellow bloggers while out on a trip. Perhaps one day I will.

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